9 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from wild animal encounters to mystery theater

This week, kids can exercise their minds, their bods and their making skills. With in-person and virtual activities on the schedule, they’ll have a blast while developing those mental, physical and creative muscles. Check out our top things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Go wild on Wednesdays (at home)

Carnegie Museum of Natural History schedules weekly Wild Wednesdays: Virtual Live Animal Encounters at 1:30 p.m. Families can register in advance to meet live animals via Zoom. The museum is home to more than 30 different animals, many of which were rescued and rehabilitated. Each week, different creatures will take the spotlight. Kids might learn the behaviors of a 6-foot python or the habits of a couple of skunks. Registration is $10 per household.

2. Take a story hike (in person)

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hosts a free Socially Distant Story Hike for kids this week. The pages of Micha Archer’s “Daniel Finds a Poem” will be set up between 1 and 4 p.m. at a different park each day. Families read the story as they stroll along the path. Stop by Westinghouse Park on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Allegheny Commons West Park on Thursday, Schenley Park on Friday, and Frick Park on Saturday. No registration is necessary.

3. Play detective (at home)

Junior detectives who admire the deductive skills of Encyclopedia Brown and Enola Holmes will be intrigued by the new Prime Stage Mystery Theatre podcast series. Kids can follow along “A Knavish Piece of Mystery” with pencil and notebook in hand, picking up clues to uncover the mystery and predict what will happen next. The interactive, all-ages podcast begins Thursday, Oct. 1, with new 10-minute episodes being released weekly through October. The game’s afoot!

4. Feel the beat! (in person)

Tired of all those on-screen hours? You and your kids can work up a sweat and energize with a free weekly Zumba class in Allegheny Commons Park. Trap Zumba, a step above the average Zumba class, mixes hip-hop and Latinx music for a vibrant and fun experience. You can register in advance for the classes that run at 6 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 1-29. No experience? No problem! All levels and ages are welcome.

5. Pick up a KidSMART Club kit (at home)

This year, Citiparks takes its KidSMART Club afterschool program in a virtual direction. Kids in grades 3 to 5 can enjoy the 11-week program that begins Monday, Oct. 5. Cool hands-on activities support fun STEM, art and wellness lessons. Pick up themed kits on Monday mornings at neighborhood recreation centers during Grab ‘N Go meal distribution. Registration is required.

6. Craft with glass (at home)

Pittsburgh Glass Center came up with a slew of beautiful new Glass-To-Go Kits. Mosaic creations like unicorns, fish and a garden steppingstone are included, along with suncatchers. The kits are packed with supplies needed to complete a project before dropping it off at the center for the final firing. Kits range from $20-$35.

7. Park your car at a drive-in movie (in person)

Allegheny County Parks’ free summer drive-in series ends with screenings of “Secret Life of Pets 2” on Thursday, Oct. 1, at South Park and Friday, Oct. 2, at Hartwood Acres.

Row House Cinema launches its new family-friendly Drive-in Cinema at the Terminal, Strip District, with “The Neverending Story” on Friday, Oct. 2, and “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on Saturday, Oct. 3. Halloween-themed flicks like “Hocus Pocus” and “Beetlejuice” are part of the lineup that continues on Fridays and Saturdays through October. Admission is $25 per car.

8. Be a party animal (in person)

The Pittsburgh Zoo will throw a Pumpkin Palooza on Sunday, Oct. 4. Kids can savor pumpkin snacks and watch the zoo animals go crazy with their special treats. Be sure to meet with the education animal ambassadors in the Garden Tent to learn more about favorite animals.

9. Gather around a campfire (in person)

Allegheny County Parks hosts Park After Dark: Campfire with Park Rangers on Oct. 3 and 30 in South Park and North Park. Bring along camp chairs and snuggle into fleece for a cozy time in the woods. Park rangers will lead discussions on nature and history, plus a few campfire stories will complete the evening.  Register in advance here for the free, all-ages experience.